Tag: B-Movie (Page 2 of 3)

TEC’s 25 SINGLE VERSIONS THAT ARE BETTER THAN THE ALBUM VERSIONS

Ever bought an album on the strength of a single, only to find that “this is not the single I am looking for”??

As long as there has been a music business, artists and producers have been forever tinkering with their work. Sometimes it is to improve an album track for single release by remixing or even re-recording it. Or it is vice-versa to create a new vision for a song or just to make it sound more like the material on a latterly recorded long player. But in many cases, it’s the version that was made for mass consumption through radio play that remains superior and best loved.

This list celebrates the frustration of being stuck with the wrong version and the dilemma of whether to shell out extra cash to go out and buy the proper version.

Restricted to one single per artist and presented in chronological and then alphabetical order, here are The Electricity Club’s 25 Single Versions That Are Better Than The Album Versions…


JOHN FOXX No-One Driving (1980)

While ‘Metamatic’ is an iconic long player and includes ‘Underpass’, its second single opted for a reworking of ‘No-One Driving’, rather than the more obvious ‘A New Kind Of Man’. Much busier and expansive than the comparatively tame album version, it provided JOHN FOXX with another Top40 hit, something which had eluded him in ULTRAVOX who interestingly also produced a better single version with ‘Quiet Man’ from ‘Systems Of Romance’ while he was in the band.

Available on the JOHN FOXX boxed set ‘Metamatic’ via Edsel Records

http://www.metamatic.com/


OMD Messages (1980)

On OMD’s debut self-titled album, ‘Messages’ just a song with potential as a single. Utilising a pulsing repeat function on a Korg Micro-Preset shaped by hand twisting the octave knob, it was decided to re-record ‘Messages’ for its single release. Produced by Mike Howlett, the new version included the addition of separately recorded drums for a cleaner snap alongside the basic primary chord structures and one fingered melodies to produce a magnificent UK chart hit that reached No13.

Available on the OMD album ‘Messages: Greatest Hits’ via Virgin Records

http://www.omd.uk.com/


B-MOVIE Remembrance Day (1981)

Despite being alongside DEPECHE MODE, SOFT CELL, BLANCMANGE and THE THE on the now iconic ‘Some Bizarre Album’, B-MOVIE were unable to secure a Top40 chart entry with the poignant magnificence of the Mike Thorne produced ‘Remembrance Day’. The struggle for success coupled with internal tensions led to the band fragmenting by 1983. Finally releasing an album in 1985 on Sire Records entitled ‘Forever Running’, it featured an inferior re-recording of ‘Remembrance Day’.

Available on compilation album ‘Dawn Of Electronica’ (V/A) via Demon Music Group

http://www.b-movie.co.uk/


THE HUMAN LEAGUE The Sound Of The Crowd (1981)

The combination of obscure lyrics from Ian Burden like “Stroke a pocket with a print of a laughing sound” and a screaming chant gave THE HUMAN LEAGUE their breakthrough hit. Produced by the late Martin Rushent, bursts of Roland System 700 white noise were trigged from an MC8 Micro-composer for the rhythm track. But for the subsequent ‘Dare’ album, ‘The Sound Of The Crowd’ was reworked with a Linn Drum and with the chant also pushed back, it lost much of its dystopian tension.

Available on THE HUMAN LEAGUE album ‘Greatest Hits’ via Virgin Records

http://www.thehumanleague.co.uk/


JAPAN The Art Of Parties (1981)

More muscular and dynamic, ‘The Art Of Parties’ explored a funkier template was a move away from the mannered Roxy muzak that JAPAN had been associated with. Originally produced by John Punter, when it came to the album ‘Tin Drum’, new producer Steve Nye smoothed off some of the track’s tribal weirdness and muted its brassy punch. While the end result was tighter, synthier and had more melody, the band preferred to play the original single version live…

Extended version available on JAPAN album ‘The Very Best Of’ via Virgin Records

http://www.nightporter.co.uk/


JEAN-MICHEL JARRE Magnetic Fields 2 (1981)

The first track on side two of the last two JEAN-MICHEL JARRE albums provided the trailer singles for radio and ‘Magnetic Fields’ was no different. But in a new approach, the French Maestro offered up a toughed up remix where the klanky lightweight tones of the Korg Rhythm KR55 were replaced by bangier drum samples while the synth stabs on the bridge were turned up. But as Jarre’s audience preferred albums, this superior remix got lost over the years and missed inclusion on his many compilations.

Single version not currently available

https://jeanmicheljarre.com/


SOFT CELL Tainted Love (1981)

Everyone knows the wonderful hit single version of this Northern Soul cover with its hypnotic Roland Compurhythm running all the way through it. But for the ‘Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret’ album, ‘Tainted Love’ was shortened by 2 seconds while the second phrase became the first, thus strangely muting the emotive impact of the original single. Annoyingly, this inferior version crept onto the first SOFT CELL compilation ‘The Singles’ and the more recent ‘Keychains & Snowstorms’ collection.

Available on SOFT CELL album ‘The Very Best Of’ via Mercury Records

http://www.softcell.co.uk/


ASSOCIATES Party Fears Two (1982)

With its iconic honky tonk piano line, ‘Party Fears Two’ was a magnificent song about dealing with the perils of schizophrenia. It also kick started a brief period when ASSOCIATES subverted the UK charts with an avant pop approach that fitted in with the Synth Britannia template of the times. A Top10 hit and emotive to the nth degree, the original single version is still the best and total perfection, while the longer album remix with its ambient intro and stop ending lost some of the magic.

Available on the ASSOCIATES album ‘The Very Best Of’ via BMG

https://www.facebook.com/theassociatesofficial/


HEAVEN 17 Height Of The Fighting (1982)

The original ‘Height Of The Fighting’ from the second side of ‘Penthouse & Pavement’ was sonically an extension of ‘Travelogue’, Martyn Ware’s last album as a member of THE HUMAN LEAGUE. The more commercial single version took the funkier approach of the first side of ‘Penthouse & Pavement’, adding synthetic drums and a meatier bass synth attack. Also featuring the BEGGAR & CO brass section who had already played on records by SPANDAU BALLET, it was a glorious electronic soul hybrid.

Available on HEAVEN 17 album ‘The Best Of’ via Virgin Records

https://www.heaven17.com/


ICEHOUSE Icehouse (1982)

Led by Iva Davies, the song which got Australian combo ICEHOUSE noticed by a wider audience in the UK during their tenure opening for SIMPLE MINDS was a slight reworking of the chilling synth laden ‘Icehouse’, the title track of their debut album from when the band were called FLOWERS. Featuring a strange offbeat and the mannerisms of GARY NUMAN before blitzing out for the song’s flanged guitar climax, ‘Icehouse’ was easily as good as anything on VISAGE’s eponymous debut.

Single version not currently available

http://www.icehouse-ivadavies.com/


SPANDAU BALLET Instinction (1982)

Having been outflanked by DURAN DURAN in the New Romantic debut album stakes, SPANDAU BALLET explored Britfunk with ‘Chant No1′, but then took a strange about turn with their next album ‘Diamond’ featuring a number of ethnic art pieces. Fresh from working with ABC, Trevor Horn reworked Richard James Burgess’ understated production of ‘Instinction’ from the album. Throwing in extra synths played by Anne Dudley and extra bombastic percussion; it effectively saved SPANDAU BALLET’s career.

Available on the SPANDAU BALLET album ‘Gold: The Best Of’ via EMI Records

http://www.spandauballet.com/


THE THE Uncertain Smile (1982)

Still Matt Johnson’s finest five minutes as THE THE, ‘Uncertain Smile’ on its single release featured a wonderfully rigid TR808 pattern, lovely layers of synths and a variety of woodwinds including flute and sax. Produced by Mike Thorne, this fuller sounding and more emotive take far outstripped the bland and overlong ‘Soul Mining’ album cut produced by Paul Hardiman which included the extended boogie-woogie piano of Jools Holland tagged onto the end…

Available on the THE THE album ’45 RPM – The Singles’ via Epic Records

https://www.thethe.com/


VISAGE Night Train (1982)

Inspired by the burgeoning New York club scene, Rusty Egan brought in John Luongo to remix ‘Night Train’ from ‘The Anvil’ album much to Midge Ure’s dismay; it lead to the diminutive Glaswegian ending his tenure with VISAGE. But Luongo’s rework was sharper and more rigid, pushing forward the female backing vocals to soulful effect in particular and replacing the clumpier snare sounds of the original album version with cleaner AMS samples.

Extended version available on the compilation boxed set ’12”/80s – Volume 2′ (V/A) via Family Recordings

http://www.visage.cc/


GARY NUMAN Sister Surprise (1983)

At over eight and a half minutes, the album version of ‘Sister Surprise’ on the ‘Mad Max’ inspired ‘Warriors’ was far too long, plus something was missing. For its single release, this slice of synthetic funk rock was shortened and sharpened, while a new vocal hook was added over Numan’s now ubiquitous “woah-oh-oh” refrains which provided a much better chorus. Despite this improvement and an appearance of ‘Top Of The Pops’, it was the lowest charting GARY NUMAN single to date…

Available on the GARY NUMAN album ‘Premier Hits’ via Beggars Banquet

https://garynuman.com/


DURAN DURAN The Reflex (1984)

“Somebody’s fooling around…” – the ‘Seven & The Ragged Tiger’ album sessions had not been a happy experience for DURAN DURAN with the prolonged mixing leading to a fall out between bassist John Taylor and producer Alex Sadkin. ‘The Reflex’ had potential but this was not fully realised. Enter Nile Rodgers who gave the track a rhythmic lift and played around with the then-new innovation of sampling, using various vocals to create new hooks and phrases for a monster international hit.

Available on the DURAN DURAN album ‘Greatest’ via EMI Records

http://www.duranduran.com/


FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD Two Tribes (1984)

Comedian Lenny Henry summed things up best in a sketch where he entered a record shop to buy a single and was then offered a plethora of versions by the assistant:”I JUST WANT THE VERSION THEY GOT RIGHT!” – ZTT’s marketing exploits with 12 inch mixes are well known, but they played around with album versions too and with the version of ‘Two Tribes’ on ‘Welcome To The Pleasure Dome’, they got it wrong and took out the piper call middle eight!

Available on the FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD album ‘Frankie Said’ via Union Square

http://www.frankiesay.com/


BLANCMANGE The Day Before You Came (1984)

There once was a time when it was not cool to like ABBA but BLANCMANGE changed all that with their version of ‘The Day Before You Came’, a song many regard as the last ABBA song. Combining that noted Swedish melancholy and melodicism with the artful quirkiness of Synth Britannia, the more compact single version produced by Peter Collins considered improved on the ‘Mange Tout’ album version helmed by John Luongo and made more of Neil Arthur’s deep melodramatics.

Available on the BLANCMANGE album ‘Second Helpings’ via London Records

http://www.blancmange.co.uk/


A-HA Hunting High & Low (1985)

The collective strength of A-HA over the years has been to produce great melancholic pop in that classic Nordic tradition, but also add a contrasting glorious optimism. The photogenic trio have offered many great ballads over the years such as ‘Stay On These Roads’ and ‘Summer Moved On’, but their best known one is ‘Hunting High & Low’. Originally produced by Tony Mansfield, it was dramatically remixed for single release by Alan Tarney with the addition of orchestrations by Anne Dudley.

Available on the A-HA album ‘Time & Again: The Ultimate’ via WEA

https://a-ha.com/


PET SHOP BOYS Suburbia (1986)

Originally produced by Stephen Hague, ‘Suburbia’ was a good if slightly underwhelming album track from ‘Please’ that got transformed into a more fully realised epic in a re-recording produced by Sarm West graduate Julian Mendelson. Complete with barking dogs, widescreen synths and thundering rhythms, the more aggressive overtones in the single version of PET SHOP BOYS‘ clever social commentary made ‘Suburbia’ a big hit, particularly in West Germany.

Available on the PET SHOP BOYS album ‘Pop Art: The Hits’ via EMI Records

http://petshopboys.co.uk/


DEPECHE MODE Behind The Wheel (1988)

With DEPECHE MODE’s Trans-Atlantic breakthrough album ‘Music For The Masses’, the good but meandering track heading side two never realised its potential. But with PET SHOP BOYS, NEW ORDER, DURAN DURAN, ERASURE and MADONNA remixer Shep Pettibone ‘Behind The Wheel’, a funkier bassline and syncopated rhythms were added to the much better single version, giving the song a far more accessible groove that could fill alternative club dancefloors in America.

Available on the DEPECHE MODE album ‘The Singles 86-98’ via Mute Records

http://www.depechemode.com/


NEW ORDER Spooky (1993)

‘Republic’ produced by Stephen Hague was not the finest hour of NEW ORDER, so it was something of a surprise when London Records chose to release the underwhelming ‘Spooky’ as the fourth single from it. But it was remixed by FLUKE, a house dance trio who had already worked with BJÖRK and were influenced by CABARET VOLTAIRE and GIORGIO MORODER. Rhythmically more spacious, this superior ‘Minimix’ allowed the best elements of the song to shine.

Available on the NEW ORDER single ‘Spooky’ via London Records

http://www.neworder.com/


SAINT ETIENNE You’re In A Bad Way (1993)

Listen to the ‘So Tough’ album version of ‘You’re In A Bad Way’ and it is far too understated. With a brighter punchier recording helmed by A-HA producer Alan Tarney for the single version, the acoustic guitar was pushed back while vintage synths and a lovely ‘Telstar’ motif was added for a vastly superior rendition of the song. Sometimes more can mean more and this slice of HERMAN’S HERMITS inspired pop brilliance gave SAINT ETIENNE a well-deserved No12 hit single.

Available on the SAINT ETIENNE album ‘London Conversations’ via Heavenly Records

http://www.saintetienne.com/


WILLIAM ORBIT Adagio For Strings (1999)

Orbit’s concept of adapting classical works was because he wanted to make a chill-out album that had some good tunes. But trance enthusiasts who loved Dutch producer Ferry Corsten’s blinding remix of Samuel Barber’s ‘Adagio For Strings’ will have been shocked if they had bought its virtually beatless parent long player. Sounding not unlike JEAN-MICHEL JARRE set to a 4/4 dance beat, this single version actually reached No4 in the UK charts.

Available on the compilation boxed set ‘Dance Anthems Classics – The Collection’ via Rhino

https://www.williamorbit.com/


ERASURE Moon & The Sky (2001)

In a poor period for Andy and Vince, the ‘Loveboat’ album’s problem wasn’t just the emphasis on guitar driven dynamics, but it also lacked the usual ERASURE charm despite production by Flood. Even the album’s one potentially great song ‘The Moon & The Sky’ was missing an uplifting chorus, something which was only fixed with the Heaven Scent Radio Rework version by Jason Creasey that was later released as an extended play single.

Available on the ERASURE album ‘Total Pop! – The First 40 Hits’ via Mute Records

http://www.erasureinfo.com/


RÖYKSOPP Remind Me (2001)

With vocals by KINGS OF CONVENIENCE vocalist Erlend Øye, ‘Remind Me’ was one of the highlights of RÖYKSOPP’s excellent debut album ‘Melody AM’ which fitted in with dance music culture’s penchant for chill-out. But for single release, the track was given a more rhythmic KRAFTWERK styled feel via ‘Someone Else’s Radio Remix’ by Marisa Jade Marks. The track drew in new listeners, although they would have had a major shock to the system on hearing the album original…

Available on the RÖYKSOPP download single ‘Remind Me’ via Wall Of Sound

http://royksopp.com/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
14th November 2018

PAUL STATHAM Interview

What do DEPECHE MODE, SOFT CELL, BLANCMANGE and THE THE have in common?

They all appeared on the ‘Some Bizzare Album’ which acted as a springboard for their fame and fortune.

But the silent success story of the ‘Some Bizzare Album’ has to be Paul Statham; while his band B-MOVIE with Steve Hovington, Rick Holliday and Graham Boffey were unable to achieve a foothold in the mainstream like The Big Four, the guitarist later found considerable success as a songwriter and producer.

Working with personalities as varied as Peter Murphy, Jim Kerr, Billy Mackenzie, Dido, Dot Allison, Sarah Nixey, Kylie Minogue, Lisa Scott-Lee, Tina Arena and Rachel Stevens, Statham’s credits also include groups such as THE SATURDAYS and RIGHT SAID FRED.

Statham was also a member of cult electropop trio PEACH with Pascal Gabriel and Lisa Lamb, whose song ‘On My Own’ from their only album ‘Audiopeach’ featured during a key scene in the Gwyneth Paltrow movie ‘Sliding Doors’.

Although B-MOVIE reformed in 2004, Statham has continued his songwriting and production career in parallel.

More recently, there has also been his dark country project THE DARK FLOWERS, while he has also been releasing a series of ambient electronic albums, as well as establishing his own label Loki Records.

Paul Statham kindly took time out of his busy schedule to answer some of The Electricity Club’s questions about his career outside of B-MOVIE…

What has motivated you to start Loki Records in the current climate?

Well, exactly the words “current climate”! I did approach some leftfield labels, but the response time was tragic! Also as a long standing writer through Warner Chappell, there is always the thought that the song has to be commented on or is specifically ‘aimed’ at something , even going through an experimental label. So setting up my own label means I can go sit in the woods filming the moon all night, then decide that will be the video as it was for the track ‘Who Won’t Wait’! Of course who sees the video is then down to you endlessly trying to put links up!

After years of songwriting, how did this move towards more experimental music come about?

I have been involved in writing or creating pieces of instrumental music since 2002 through an art curator friend Victor De Circasia to run alongside writing more commercial music. My project THE DARK FLOWERS put a small element of experimental into traditional song using backdrops of wind or recorded atmosphere behind tracks, but my favourite album is Brian Eno’s ‘Another Green World’ and also I love reading about his compositional practice.

Your third ambient release is ‘Asylum’, how does this differ in concept from your first two releases of this type ‘Ephemeral’ and ‘Installation Music 1’ which were given away on Bandcamp?

I did plan to do it this way. The first two are unaltered pieces that were actually used in two installations, ‘Installation Music 1’ is very specific to a sculpture ‘Diving Woman’ by Sottish artist David Mach. ‘Asylum’ took some installation music from the Asylum Chapel in Peckham and simply used it as the starting point to create an album that was added to and experimented on over time.

What do you get out of this more experimental direction that you wouldn’t get from writing pop songs?

Total Freedom. A real journey from going out and exploring sounds in the outside world to developing artwork / films and setting out and letting the unfolding music direct where it heads to with no thought of who may like this. That’s why sometimes I’ll give them away for free!

Any thoughts about trying to compose hour long pieces like Brian Eno has done?

I already have a 28 minute piece that was used in an installation. It involved 28 pieces of thirty seconds long, starting with one then adding to it the next piece every 30 seconds to create a collage of found sound, then after 28 minutes it reverses. I will locate it and put it out for free on Bandcamp now you have reminded me! It was accompanied by painter Daisy Cook’s series of 28 small paintings of the Australian landscape but taken from the air. We made a film but I’ve since lost it!

The B-side to B-MOVIE’s ‘Marilyn Dreams’ was ‘Film Music Part 1’, what ever happened to Part 2 and is composing film music a direction you would like to head in?

That was written by Rick and I really like it! I think it was Rick, although Steve wrote most things back then! Film music is something I would love to do and would offer the music for free to any budding or low budget film in need!

After B-MOVIE first ended, you started to work with Peter Murphy in 1988 and continue to do so today, how would describe your creative dynamic?

Slow development! No, it’s completely different than my usual co-writing and has been long distance, with us rarely or actually ever sitting down in the same room and writing anything together. ‘Love Hysteria’ was me sitting in his attic with a four track and a few instruments, then leaving it with him. ‘Deep’ was similar but in a studio room, with Peter adding stuff once I’d put any sort of sketch down. After his move to Turkey, I would visit Ankara but again go into his studio room alone and sketch ideas, whilst he would then go in after me later at night and really shape them up. Since the internet, we simply share files. Some people find this dynamic difficult but after such a long time, I find it easy to send him anything I feel will intrigue.

Photo by Pete Walsh

In 1996, you formed PEACH who you described as “ABBA Meets THE KLF”? What inspired this?

Hahahaha! That was meeting Pascal Gabriel who produced the Murphy album ‘Cascade’. After the ‘Holy Smoke’ album, Peter dropped THE 100 MEN (band) and I went back to co-writing the whole album via sketches and lots of different styles, but with a more electronic feel. We all went to Spain to record, Peter, Pascal and myself and it was fairly high pressure.

On returning to London, I began to hang out with Pascal and he suggested that we form a very up dayglo electronic trio… very different to my Murphy work and at the time, it was something I definitely needed to do.

How did getting signed to Mute come about? It appeared to happen quite quickly…

We signed to Daniel Miller’s Mute label after playing him two demos in his office with no singer and Pascal sorting of humming vocal ideas. I really respect Daniel Miller and how he got what we were trying to do immediately and offered us a deal on the spot!

I will always be grateful to Pascal as he gave me studio keys and access to all these incredible synths and recording gear and simply let me learn my way around it, whilst we simply began recording with no agenda, other than kicking electropop tunes!

While your first single ‘On My Own’ wasn’t a UK Top 40 hit, it attracted positive responses?

It was a hit in the States and reached No 11 on the radio charts and also was a pop Top 40 hit. It was No 1 in Canada, Israel and bizarrely Singapore where Lisa Lamb and myself headed out to play the city’s 33rd birthday celebrations…v v odd!

Photo by Adrian Green

How did you feel when ‘On My Own’ featured in the film ‘Sliding Doors’?

I remember being very excited, especially meeting Gwyneth Paltrow at the aftershow of the London premiere. Also seeing your name come up at the end of the film credits was worth it!

‘From This Moment On’ is a timeless pop tune?

I wrote the majority of that alone, picturing a sort of ABBA / ACE OF BASS crossover with a different rhythmic feel than the rest of the more uptempo songs.

I started with the sequencer and then went back and wrote this long intro as I may have discovered a jazz chord or two from some book! Lyrically, I just liked the sound of the words / sentiment without it being particularly about anything! I don’t normally write lyrics, perhaps you can see why!

The eventual ‘Audiopeach’ album was one of the last recordings that the late Billy Mackenzie contributed to. His ad libs on ‘Deep Down Together’ are so unmistakable, how did you know him and what was he like to work with?

Billy Mackenzie was a friend of Pascal’s and I was a HUGE fan of ASSOCIATES. It was shortly before he committed suicide and he arrived very down to earth and humble with a few cans of beer. He simply opened his mouth and that voice exploded. I loved it so much, I owned a DAT tape of him simply singing his vocal line unaccompanied, it was so pure with such a range. He also sang on ’Give Me Tomorrow’, replacing the high sampled opera vocal. I have read ‘The Glamour Chase’ biography twice now and recently have started listening to him a lot.

Photo by Joe Dilworth

By the time ‘Audiopeach’ came out in 1998, the momentum appeared to have stalled, what happened?

Basically we didn’t all get on. Lisa proved difficult at the time, while Pascal and her were complete ‘Polar Opposites’ in just about everything. I think Lisa herself will admit she found it difficult and although we had success, our vision of what PEACH should sound like / appear like were pulling in two very different directions. I was sad as had left a long running collaboration with Murphy, found success with this pop / electronic vibe, signed to Mute and then walked away from it all.

PEACH supported ERASURE in London but did not play live much, could this have been a contributory factor?

I loved playing live, especially after some amazing live shows around the world with Peter Murphy, who was and is a great frontman and thrived on chaos. Pascal wasn’t so much a live musician and Lisa just got more outrageous, so it wasn’t really a live show at all, just playing a few chords over a backing track. We played three shows with ERASURE in London and before that, two in Hamburg. The German shows were a real success and very enjoyable, but somehow we’d lost enthusiasm by the time we played London!

PEACH appeared to help kickstart your next phase as a pop writer with artists like Kylie Minogue, Rachel Stevens and Lisa Scott-Lee?

Yes, that was only due to the fact I signed via PEACH to Warner Chappell and became great friends with my A&R man Mike Sault who began getting us co-writes with other artists and also, the great work that Sandy Dworniak at TMT Management did as Pascal’s and my manager.

Some might say your best known song is ‘Here With Me’ which you did with Dido, how do you look back on it?

It was so good as Dido had no expectations on her and I loved her voice; as a person and collaborator, she was great fun and wrote quickly and strongly in terms of her lyrics / melodies. We wrote quite a lot of songs and I remember vividly writing ‘I’m No Angel’ with her in about two hours!

So how would you approach a song for a singer, as opposed to artists like Dido, Sarah Nixey or Dot Allison who are more involved in the composition side? Is there a brief from the label?

Yep, sort of. It’s always strange as they give you a reference video by another artist, then the artist plays you something different and the management tell you they want something off the wall and different, so I just try and write the most interesting music I can and see where it goes. It’s so hard to get these things right and you end up with literally hundreds of very very good songs, but then so does everyone else who co-writes with them. It’s frustrating going back and seeing a huge iTunes library with lots of songs that you feel could be hits if the artist / A&R / manager had chosen to go with the song you co-wrote!!

You also worked with Jim Kerr on ‘Return Of the King’, a tribute to Billy Mackenzie for his LOST BOY solo project and subsequently, ‘Kill Or Cure’ for SIMPLE MINDS, what was that like?

Fantastic! I saw SIMPLE MINDS four times in one year when I was a teenager and was a HUGE fan of the first four albums. Not so much ‘New Gold Dream’ onwards, but ‘Reel To Real Cacophony’ and ‘Empires & Dance’.

So writing with Jim Kerr in my small bedroom sized home studio was one of those moments you think if I could have told my 18 year old self that, he wouldn’t have believed me! Also we share a lot of great music references in Bowie, Bolan, Roxy and certain literary styles / books. Jim is a very optimistic and supportive friend, he encouraged THE DARK FLOWERS and we have written a lot of material that may or may not see the light of day!

So what’s happening with THE DARK FLOWERS, which has featured Jim Kerr, Peter Murphy and Dot Allison amongst others?

I have all the music… it’s like herding cats trying to get a song or two from each person as they are all involved constantly in their own work. However I’m getting excited about the second album as its shaping up well… darker in tone than the first (deliberately) and featuring David J as well. Lloyd Cole was interested and started a track, but as of yet???!!!!

In all, are you quite happy with how you music career has turned out in its various guises?

I’m very happy… more so than ever. I re-signed to Warner Chappell in January and balance my week with running a course at BIMM in London once a week and heading up the songwriting workshops at Solent University (sixth year now) once a week too. This leaves me plenty of time to work on my own stuff and collaborate with long standing friends / artists

What’s next for you in whatever guise?

– THE DARK FLOWERS 2
– The continued release of experimental music via Loki Records
– AFTER THE RAIN (my new sample / DJ Shadow style project)
– New B-MOVIE album
– New Peter Murphy collaborations
– A new KRAFTWERK / vaporwave project with film composer Magnus Fiennes out in LA
– And continued co-writing via Warner Chappell’s, particularly with electro R‘n’B singer Billie Black.


The Electricity Club gives its grateful thanks to Paul Statham

‘Asylum’ is released on CD by Loki Records, available from https://www.lokirecords.com/shop

http://paulstathammusic.com

https://www.facebook.com/paulstathammusic/

https://paulstatham.bandcamp.com/

http://www.inspiracy.com/peach/

https://www.lojinx.com/artists/the-dark-flowers

https://www.facebook.com/theflowersdark/


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
22nd February 2018

PAUL STATHAM Asylum

PAUL STATHAM’s musical contributions date back to post-punk, and having worked and composed for many successful artists, his accolades are many.

Signed to Mute, his project PEACH with a fellow producer Pascal Gabriel, brought ‘Audiopeach’ and the song ‘On My Own’ featured in the film ‘Sliding Doors’, became a US top 20 hit.

Working with SIMPLE MINDS, TINA ARENA and THE SATURDAYS alongside others, his main commercial success came on DIDO’s and KYLIE MINOGUE’s albums as a co-writer and producer.

Having his fingers in many pies includes co-founding the band B-MOVIE, acting as a visiting professor in Leeds College Of Music and running songwriting workshops in London. Statham also developed his own project THE DARK FLOWERS, which featured collaborations with Peter Murphy, with whom the producer has a long lasting working relationship, SIMPLE MINDS’ Jim Kerr, Dot Allison from ONE DOVE and HELICOPTER GIRL. If that wasn’t enough, the multi-talented artist busies himself with film, art installations and exhibitions.

Recently the many faces of Paul Statham were realised in a start-up of his own label Loki Records and the release of an eight track album ‘Asylum’. Having been signed to Warner Chappell Publishing for over twenty years, Statham set up Loki to issue his experimental material, a phase which began with the ‘Ephemeral’ and ‘Installation Music 1’ releases.

‘Asylum’ features music from an audio visual installation created with painter Jonathan McCree, which was held in Asylum Chapel in South London’s Peckham.

The opening eponymous track’s video utilises images from an Italian exhibition as well as dancers from Turkish State Contemporary Dance Company. The song itself is minimalistic and sparse, yet evolving the feelings of distress, fear, anxiety, laced with blissful oblivion and dread.

Soundtrack worthy, ‘Asylum’ is creepily delicious, and the senses are becoming to wake with the following ‘Collision’, a messier, more confused enterprise, still bearing the elements of dystopia and madness.

‘Who Won’t Wait’ continues the ambient atmosphere with the feeling of no hope, and ‘Tq347773’ brings a delicate piano, treated with a dose of electronic manipulation.

‘Rhea Moon’ introduces a steady beat and a promise of brighter days within the disjointed musicality and leads onto much heavier sounding ‘Estuary Point’.

Here, the inevitable dread returns with the uncomfortable images of being shut out from the world, enclosed in a small space and being fed disturbing images for no other reason but to be broken. Was Statham going for mind control references here; Montauk experiment perhaps?

No relief comes in the form of ‘Malleki’, which utilises treated found sounds; wooden, primal, ritualistic. The strings and piano have no chance against the gritty synth. The closing ‘Ascend’ promises a glimmer of hope from the onset. Being lifted in a beam of light; lifted to the higher spiritual plains or being taken maybe.

This is the beauty of ambivalent music – anyone can imagine what they like and address the feelings a particular piece may evoke. ‘Ascend’ brings that aura of weightlessness, the divine connotations and the calmness of being, away from the “asylum”.

‘Asylum’ will appeal to the discerning customer, to the lovers of unusual synth play, GAZELLE TWIN or JORI HULKKONEN or maybe even THE KNIFE.

It’s wholesomely cinematic, marvellously ethereal and perilously addictive, if you aren’t afraid of darker auras and more intellectual sound manipulations.


‘Asylum’ is released on CD by Loki Records, available from https://www.lokirecords.com/shop

http://paulstathammusic.com

https://www.facebook.com/paulstathammusic/

https://paulstatham.bandcamp.com/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
30th December 2017

B-MOVIE Interview

Named after an Andy Warhol painting, Mansfield’s B-MOVIE made their recorded debut with their ‘Take Three’ EP via the Lincoln-based indie label Dead Good in 1980.

Comprising of Steve Hovington (vocals + bass), Paul Statham (guitar), Rick Holliday (keyboards), and Graham Boffey (drums), the quartet followed it up with a five track 12 inch release ‘Nowhere Girl’ which not only featured an early version of the title track that would become their signature song, but also an embryonic take on ‘Remembrance Day’.

B-MOVIE’s synth dominated new wave brought them to the attention of Stevo Pearce, founder of Some Bizzare Records. He included them in his ‘Futurist’ chart for music paper Sounds and subsequently became the band’s manager. Their song ‘Moles’, alongside contributions from then-unknown bands such as DEPECHE MODE, SOFT CELL, BLANCMANGE and THE THE, was included on the now iconic ‘Some Bizarre Album’ released in early 1981.

Along with SOFT CELL, B-MOVIE were signed to Phonogram Records but unlike Messrs Almond and Ball, the quartet were unable to secure a major chart entry, despite releasing magnificent re-recorded versions of ‘Remembrance Day’ and ‘Nowhere Girl’ as singles.

The struggle for success coupled with internal tensions led to Boffey and then Holliday departing the band by the end of 1982.

After severing ties with Stevo Pearce, Hovington and Statham soldiered on with a revolving door line-up of session musicians in tow and finally released an album in 1985 on Sire Records entitled ‘Forever Running’.

With the album being something of a disappointment, Hovington and Statham went their separate ways with the guitarist becoming a successful songwriter, first in partnership for several albums with BAUHAUS singer Peter Murphy and latterly, with artists as diverse as DIDO, RACHEL STEVENS, THE SATURDAYS and SIMPLE MINDS!

Over the years, B-MOVIE’s music has attained a reverential cult status, particularly in the US with Nebraska electro-rock combo THE FAINT notably using ‘Remembrance Day’ as the basis for their own ‘Southern Belles in London Sing’ in 2004. At around the same time, B-MOVIE reformed with their original line-up and issued a brand new album ‘The Age Of Illusion’ in 2013.

Last year, there was the release of a third long player ‘Climate Of Fear’. A concept album of sorts, one of the poignantly titled highlights ‘Another False Dawn’ was a timely reflection on the world’s political environment.

With B-MOVIE playing further live shows this year, Steve Hovington, Graham Boffey and Paul Statham all kindly took time out to chat to The Electricity Club about the band’s past, present and future…

What was the impetus to reform B-MOVIE in 2004?

Paul: Friendship first, then the offer to play at the ‘Blow Up’ club night. Also the sense that the original line-up had never actually recorded an album together and on getting back together, our respective careers allowed this to happen.

Graham: Paul’s correct. We have too long a history together not to jump at the chance to play together again. Playing music becomes a way of life, sort of, so it was great to be playing again.

Steve: Ditto

You obviously found the experience positive as you’re still here?

Paul: Hahaha! It’s most definitely positive. We have known each other for so long and have an instinctive feel for what we all do best when we are playing together. Of course, we never change and when we are good, we are fucking awesome and when we are bad… well… another story!

Graham: The years roll back and we’re as juvenile as we ever were.

You’ve released two albums since your reformation, the most recent one ‘Climate Of Fear’ indicates there might be a politically themed concept?

Steve: It’s a sort of concept album (I’m a prog rocker at heart!), this human being (me) struggling to cope with the sensory overload of the info age like on the title track. The last album ‘Age of Illusion’ also had a similar theme. In fact, B-MOVIE have always been politically aware as opposed to political. The subject matter of ’Remembrance Day’, ‘All Fall Down’ and even ‘A Letter from Afar’ probably cost us a play or two on the Simon Bates radio show. The lyrics articulate an unease and anxiety about the world. I can’t ignore what’s happening in the world but do in a subtle, tongue-in-cheek way that doesn’t beat people over the head.

‘Corridors’ from ‘Climate Of Fear’ is classic B-MOVIE?

Paul: Difficult to tell as a classic is many years in the making before we can tell if it stands the test of time! Classic guitar solo though!

Steve: Yes, I think it maybe. It’s another one about the mind and trying to find peace with yourself. I think it ends quite optimistically with a sweet melody that signifies the light. And there’s that guitar solo too!

Is ‘Feeling Gothic’ inspired by anything particular?

Steve: It’s about revealing your true nature. By day you conform, by night you are whatever you want to be. There’s always been a dark, Gothic twist to our music. ‘Nowhere Girl’ has connected with people all over world who don’t conform. I sometimes think of our music as ‘outsider rock’ and come at things from that angle.

Has any of the creative motivation for ‘The Age Of Illusion’ and ‘Climate Of Fear’ albums been driven by the general dissatisfaction of the debut album ‘Forever Running’?

Paul: Personally not for me. It was so long ago and I’ve been extremely lucky to continue recording a lot of albums in between (about 20 of them). Although getting rid of the ‘producer… session man’ mentality that was on that album was indeed a blessing.

Graham: I didn’t play on ‘Forever Running’ so have no history with that. My motivation was being able to be creative together and almost complete some unfinished business.

Steve: No, not really, as Paul says it was so far in the past to have any relevance. We were motivated by a shared passion to make new music. The long hiatus meant we returned to fresh to a place where we had left off. Playing together again as the original line-up was inspiration enough. None of it was forced, it was a natural progression.

Of course, it started off promisingly with the Dead Good releases, the ‘Some Bizzare Album’ and those acclaimed Phonogram singles?

Paul: Very promising… that would be on our school reports!

Graham: Or possibly not living up to potential?

Steve: Yes, we were the band most likely to succeed according to the press! It might be a tad arrogant but perhaps we were just too good! Perhaps we weren’t throwaway enough to get played on daytime Radio 1? We got a bit fixated on having chart success and the notion of success and failure that comes with that, when perhaps we should have taken our own path, recorded that album and been ourselves more?

Your contemporaries like SIMPLE MINDS, A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS and TALK TALK were having hits in 1982, and it looked like ‘Nowhere Girl’ was going to be your breakthrough Top40 single but it was not to be, despite radio play. What do you think happened?

Paul: It sounded too good!! Seriously that song hasn’t dated… there is a dispassionate and icy feel that maybe didn’t grab the younger fans like DEPECHE MODE jigging about to ‘New Life’ and it took SIMPLE MINDS five albums to break. TALK TALK mutated into a great art project for Mark Hollis and we fell apart as we were a little juvenile in how we dealt with each other. A proper manager would have helped bat us into shape and grow up a little but we had Stevo… he loved chaos and chaos ultimately destroys!

In hindsight, did the split of the original band shortly after ultimately stall momentum, or was it something (or someone) else?

Paul: Absolutely!

Graham: I’d obviously have to agree 😉

Steve: Yes. It felt like game over. We were 21!

‘A Letter From Afar’ was a promising electronic single produced by Jellybean when you signed Sire Records, why did you not continue this direction?

Paul: We were dropped by Sire and the need to actually begin to live a life took over. It was down to Steve and myself, living together with very little money or support and we both needed to move on and try different things.

Apart from the odd compilation licence for ‘Remembrance Day’ and the 12 inch of ‘Nowhere Girl’, the Some Bizzare era tracks have yet to be made available in the digital age. Is there a contractual issue?

Paul: Possibly due to Stevo and numerous deals, the contracts are so complex and a lot of those companies now no longer exist, so getting to the bottom of it all is a thankless task.

Steve: It’ll happen one day – but probably not in my lifetime!

The ‘BBC Radio Sessions 1981-84’ released in 2001 on Cherry Red plugged the gap, with the majority of the songs not featuring on ‘Forever Running’. If a debut album had been completed in 1982, what songs do you think would have made the tracklist?

Paul: It would have been a brilliant album. It would have stood the test of time as have the songs we still play. Definitely ‘Remembrance Day’, ‘Nowhere Girl’, ‘Marilyn Dreams’, ‘Welcome To The Shrink’, ‘Polar Opposites’, ‘All Fall Down’, ‘Disturbed’, ‘Love Me’, ‘Escalator’, ‘The Devil In Me’!! All would have been on my 1982 choice.

Graham: ‘Scare Some Life into Me’ would be in with a shout too.

Steve: Agree with all of those. We also recorded some demos of new songs around the time of ‘Remembrance Day’ which are still in a vault somewhere. I’d love to hear them but again may have to hire Inspector Poirot to track them down.

At the time though, it was like ‘Polar Opposites’ was always the bridesmaid, never the bride?

Paul: Yep… a shortened version with great production would have put us in ‘classic’ post punk GANG OF FOUR type ‘pop’.

Steve: It would have made a great single or album opener. Still, the Peel session version is pretty perfect.

Where do you want to take B-MOVIE now?

Paul: I’m not sure what’s coming next. Steve is always writing good stuff for B-MOVIE. I did a lot co-writing on ‘Age of Illusion’ but very little on ‘Climate of Fear’. Both are very different albums so maybe it will again be led by Steve, or Rick or Graham.

Graham: I think we can continue to make great records and who knows, this time next year we could be number one in the hit parade. Is that what the kids call it these days?

Steve: Yes, I’m always writing new stuff and we’re on a bit of a roll now, so would be a shame not to keep it going. I have in mind an EP called ‘Illuminations’ but I haven’t told the rest of the band yet 🙂


The Electricity Club gives its warmest thanks to B-MOVIE

‘Climate Of Fear’ is available on CD, vinyl and download via Cleopatra Records from https://b-movie.bandcamp.com/album/climate-of-fear

B-MOVIE play the ‘Like Totally 80s Festival’ with A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS, BERLIN and MEN WITHOUT HATS on Saturday 13th May 2017 at Huntington Beach in California

http://b-movie.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/B.MovieMusic/

https://twitter.com/bmovieuk


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
29th April 2017

PAUL STATHAM Ephemeral + Installation Music 1

PAUL STATHAM has had a diverse music career if nothing else.

He first made his name as the guitarist of B-MOVIE who appeared on the ‘Some Bizzare Album’ alongside DEPECHE MODE, SOFT CELL, BLANCMANGE and THE THE. Following the band’s disbandment, he began a nine album songwriting partnership with Goth icon Peter Murphy of BAUHAUS fame.

With producer Pascal Gabriel and singer Lisa Lamb, Statham formed synthpop trio PEACH who released their only album ‘Audiopeach’ on Mute in 1997, a long player which also featured some of the last vocal recordings made by the late Billy MacKenzie and an American hit single in ‘On My Own’.

This helped Statham maintain a successful career co-writing and producing songs for a variety of diverse acts including DIDO, DOT ALLISON, KYLIE MINOGUE, RACHEL STEVENS, SARAH NIXEY, THE SATURDAYS and LOST BOY! aka Jim Kerr.

While B-MOVIE reformed in 2004, Statham continues with projects outside the band like THE DARK FLOWERS which featured his previous collaborators Kerr, Murphy and Allison. And now he can add ambient and experimental instrumental music to his forte.

The first collection ‘Ephemeral’ consists of four lengthy pieces reminiscent of BRIAN ENO, the first of which ‘Ephemeral 1’ is a shimmering cross between ‘Neroli’ and ‘Thursday Afternoon’.

With its sonic clusters of synth, it actually moves at a slightly faster pace than both, but that of course is all comparative. Whatever, it is a wonderful slice of thinking music.

‘Ephemeral 2’ takes the pace down further, droning rather than shimmering, its denser textures recalling those of ‘On Land’. The sound painting continues with ‘Chronology 1’ adding piano and acoustic guitar to the orchestrated structure, while ‘C2’ is more obscure with its sparse experimental jazz feel.

The second body of work ‘Installation Music 1’ is more fragmented and follow the lead of ‘Music For Films’, with its nine tracks mostly clocking in at less two minutes.

Opener ‘Breaking Water’ takes waves and mechanical noises into a cavernous aural collage, while ‘Radio Dreaming’ does what it says on the tin, but is too short to lead anywhere.

The pretty rings of ‘Submerged’ are serene, it could easily develop into a longer ambient piece but sounds unfinished. However, the other tracks like ‘Particles’ and ‘The Deep World’ really do submerge into their own other worldliness. Overall, ‘Installation Music 1’ has some great ideas but comes over more as incidental accompaniment like its conceptual title suggests.

Both are now available as free downloads, with a third album on the way. This is music worthy of BRIAN ENO himself that can provoke feelings of relaxation. It’s gratis, so why not take the chance?


‘Ephemeral’ and ‘Installation Music 1’ are available as free downloads from https://paulstatham.bandcamp.com/

http://www.paulstatham.com/

https://www.facebook.com/paulstathammusic/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
5th April 2017

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